By Mark Faldmo, Jr.
In the age of airline fees and fuel surcharges, how does the price of airline tickets today compare to ten, twenty or even thirty years ago? The answer probably will surprise you! Adjusted for inflation, the cost of an airline ticket today is 50 percent less than it was 30 years ago. In 1980, the inflation-adjusted average cost of an airline ticket was $630; in 1990 the inflation-adjusted price of an airline ticket was $500; in 2000 the inflation-adjusted price of an airline ticket was $400. Today, the average cost of an airline ticket is $340 without fees and $370 including baggage and other fees.
Even with the soaring cost of fuel, the cost of air travel remains relatively low. Yes! We all dislike fees, but in some ways they are helping to keep the overall cost of air travel down.
So why don’t we appreciate the relative low cost of flying today? The main reason is that as consumers, we rarely know what the cost of a ticket should be. If you ask everyone on a flight what they paid for that flight, you will get between 15 and 40 different answers. The airlines have to be creative with pricing to maximize profit.
In the last 30 years the airline industry has changed tremendously. In the past 10 years it has changed even more, with 47 airlines filing for bankruptcy, going out of business, or merging. Some say this consolidation will result in higher airfares, but the numbers show that airfares keep falling in price. Airline fees and baggage fees probably are here to stay, but remember that even with fees, on average you pay 50 percent less (adjusted for inflation) for the same airline ticket as you did 30 years ago.
Source: The Atlantic